Watching Steve Jobs in action during a product launch was kind of like watching Tony Robbins. The man elicited awe, respect, admiration and people listened. It’s indisputable that the man had vision. What set him apart though was that he turned that vision into something tangible and served his market well. Devotees to the Apple brand believed in him and drew inspiration from the way he ran his business. He provided them with tools and toys and it seemed he was always looking out for their best interests. Others were skeptical and averse to the way his company was altering the digital media landscape.
Below you’ll find a cherry-picking of quotes and anecdotes dug up from the past that help paint a picture of what kind of a guy Steve Jobs was, and the emotions he could evoke in people.
Comparing Jobs to fellow computer pioneer Bill Gates
The Washington Post, December 1995
People want to be able to identify with their legends. The Beatles legend shines brighter than the Rolling Stones not just because their songs are easier to hum but because the Beatles seem more friendly and approachable. The Gates legend outlasts that of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computer Inc., both because Microsoft has bested Apple and because from a distance, Gates is less scary than the guy who once planted a pirate flag in his company’s front yard.
Jobs announcing to a stunned audience that Microsoft would be investing in Apple
Toronto Star, August 1997
“We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose….The era of us thinking that we compete with Microsoft is over.” Jobs delivered the news over a chorus of boos to a disappointed crowd while speaking at the MacWorld Expo in Boston.
Jobs on the on-screen design of Mac OS X
Fortune, January 2000
We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them.
Steve Jobs bans all books published by John Wiley & Sons from Apple’s retail store after Wiley announces plans to release an unauthorized biography of the late Apple founder titled iCon: Steve Jobs, The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business
The New York Times, April 2005.
“I think he’s trying to show people he’s serious about protecting his privacy,” said Debi Coleman, a co-managing director of SmartForest Ventures in Portland, Ore., who worked closely with Mr. Jobs in the 1980’s, when she was in charge of Apple’s manufacturing. “And now he has the power to do something like pull books.”
Jobs bites back after activists accuse Apple of lackluster environmental and recycling policies
San Francisco Chronicle, April 2005
They have good taste in picking the iPod, but that doesn’t make their false statements true.…To say we’re insensitive or irresponsible is just bull—-.
Jon Bon Jovi on how he feels Steve Jobs and iTunes have altered the music-buying experience…for the worse
The Sunday Times, March 2011
Kids today have missed the whole experience of putting the headphones on, turning it up to 10, holding the jacket, closing their eyes and getting lost in an album, and the beauty of taking your allowance money and making a decision based on the jacket, not knowing what the record sounded like, and looking at a couple of still pictures and imagining it.
After he resigned in August, columnist Tom Keane weighed in on how Apple won’t be the same without Steve Jobs at the helm
The Boston Globe, August 2011
It is hard to imagine that a crowd of people would have come up with the inventions that Jobs pushed through Apple. Indeed, the fact that so many other well-established technology companies did not do so speaks not only to Jobs’ singular genius but also to the flaws of corporations themselves.
Jobs on life and death in a commencement speech to Stanford University’s class of 2005
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.